Despite rumors and reports that circulated before the show’s premiere, it was still a pretty legit surprise when CM Punk actually showed up on WWE Backstage last night. After years of every bridge seeming burnt, Punk is back with WWE, but it’s not as close a relationship as it might seem at first glance.
According to PWInsider, Punk signed a contract with FOX and hasn’t signed any sort of deal with WWE, at least not so far. It was Fox’s choice to hire him, but WWE did give it their blessing. Negotiations between Fox and Punk have been going on for a while, but the deal was only finalized in the last few days. He will be a regular on WWE Backstage, but he won’t necessarily be around every single week.
PWInsider also notes that Punk’s appearance last night was a secret from everyone except Renee Young. So when the surprised reactions from the rest of the panel, including Paige asking “Is this a rib?” when “Cult of Personality started playing, were completely genuine.
Even if Punk is only appearing on FS1, and despite his insistence that he’s done with wrestling, the reaction from much of the wrestling internet has pretty much been “Punk’s back with WWE!” And if the fans are excited about prospect, the WWE roster is even more excited, as we’ve been seeing on Twitter:
RIGHT?! Thats the first thing I asked!! https://t.co/sN2GcbOgDT
— PAIGE (@RealPaigeWWE) November 13, 2019
— Renee Young (@ReneeYoungWWE) November 13, 2019
I got next 🙋🏽♂️
— WWE’s resident Superhero 👑 (@KingRicochet) November 13, 2019
WWE.com posted a statement that speaks highly of CM Punk but stops short of welcoming him back into the company:
After a nearly six-year absence from WWE TV, CM Punk made a shocking, unannounced appearance on Tuesday night’s episode of WWE Backstage, FS1’s new weekly studio show.
The two-time WWE Champion arrived during the show’s final moments, entering to the sounds of Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality,” Punk’s entrance music during his storied in-ring career.
“It’s as simple as this: Just when they think they’ve got the answers, I change the culture,” Punk told the camera, before adding, “I’ll see you here next week.”
Within minutes, the WWE on FOX Twitter account confirmed that Punk will make periodic appearances on WWE Backstage beginning next Tuesday.
Punk left an unforgettable legacy during his WWE career, including holding the WWE Championship for a remarkable 434 days. Since parting ways with WWE, Punk has gone on to author comic books for Marvel, compete in UFC and, more recently, star in the horror film “Girl on the Third Floor,” released in theaters last month.
Don’t miss Punk’s headline-making return to WWE Backstage next Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET on FS1.
Only time will tell how involved CM Punk will get with the WWE, but at the very least I’ll be tuning in to WWE Backstage next week to see what Punk has to say. No doubt WWE and Fox are counting on me not being the only one who feels that way.